The Downs at Dusk by Kenneth Spring

Lieutenant Colonel  Kenneth Arthur Spring  OBE   TD  (23 October 1921 – 25 December 1997) was a  British Army  officer, artist and co-founder of the  National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. Following active wartime service in the Far East, he became a teacher of Art in South London, and then in Oxfordshire.

His poem ‘The Downs at Dusk’ celebrates the sense of permanence our landscape exuded in 1938, despite the brooding threat of war.


The Downs at Dusk


Upon the wild downs’ searèd top

The wind-rush whistles fiendishly,

And nettles on the ancient rampart bend

While harebells tossed their tiny heads.

In painful opposition to the blast.


Then dull is he who does not sense

The vast inhuman mystery

That shrouds the whale-back of the downs,

And emanates from tumuli and mound

To compass him with phantoms of the past.


For there they stand majestically,

Unaltered since the race of man

First flung a ditch and rampart

Wide about the highest crowns,

That circled round their dreadful brow.



Kenneth Spring


For ‘Marlborough Downs‘ by Michael Spring

(Kenneth’s son) click below.

Michael spring